Monthly Archives: May 2014

Kobo versus Kindle Scratch and Sniff…

All right – so going by the title of this blog I expect that you are hoping to have some heavily-researched uber-technical exploration of the benefits and shortcomings of Kindle versus Kobo.

Sorry, that’s some other guy’s blog.

All that I am going to talk about today are my own current experiences.

So far, I have made MORE money from Kobo than I have from Kindle.

I know that’s hard to believe. Everyone I tell that to sort of looks of me as if I am either telling a lie or else merely delusional.

Just this week I had a fellow writer at a pitch-the-producer workshop I was attending tell me that I just HAD to be doing something wrong – and I expect that I am. She told me to focus on getting four or five books into Kindle Select and watch the money roll in.

Well – this month I did have ONE book in the Kindle Select program and it did raise my Kindle sales to a high enough degree that I actually thought that this month was going to be the exception. I actually thought that this month I would make MORE on Kindle than I did on Kobo.

However, two of my books were part of a Kobo thirty percent off promotion.

Once that promotion kicked off my Kobo sales climbed through the roof. I made more this month than I had in any month of indie writing.

I made almost three hundred dollars this month on Kobo and about forty dollars on Kindle.

I know that a lot of you folks might consider that poor wages – but in 2013 my record month was about one hundred dollars. I have been aiming to hit the three hundred dollar a month mark this year and now I have done it. I figure my next step will be to get to the point where I am making three hundred a month – EVERY MONTH.

That won’t be easy. Kobo WON’T have a promotion that I fit in every month. That would be convenient – but life doesn’t work that way.

So what do I figure I need to do?

I need a few more e-books out there on the market – for starters. I have thirty independently-published e-books available on Kobo and about the same on Kindle. That’s a goodly number to start with – but I am pretty sure a few more would help in a big kind of way.

They can’t be just any sort of a book. They need a good story and a good cover and they need to be a good size. My top selling e-books are ALL full-sized novels and I need to keep building on that.

I need to generate a few more reviews as well. Kindle and Kobo alike – to help encourage prospective customers to buy my e-books and also to qualify for certain book promotions such as ENT and BOOKBUB.

I also need to promote my work a little more efficiently. I had some very good luck this year with some of the smaller promotional tweeting services – but I really want to try to get one of my upcoming novel releases available through BOOKBUB.

And lastly, I need to break that Kindle wall that somehow seems to be holding me back.

Let me be clear about this. I am STILL a staunch Kobo advocate – but if I want to tap into that big fat US marketplace I have got to somehow figure out what I am doing wrong on Kindle.

If any of you folks have any ideas I am more than willing to listen. Right now I have come to the point of believing that my Kindle e-books all smell funny.

Do me a favor and take a whiff and see if either of these books smell any different to you.

This is the Kobo version. It's currently ranked #15 in Kobo's horror section.

This is the Kobo version. It’s currently ranked #15 in Kobo’s horror section.

This is the KINDLE version. Give it a sniff and see if it smells any different than the KOBO edition.

This is the KINDLE version. Give it a sniff and see if it smells any different than the KOBO edition.

While you are sniffing your computer screen I am going to keep my fingers crossed that no one walks into your writing office and catches you at it.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


First Drafts NEED to be F*cked Up!

Blog ButtonI found this picture on the BEGIN WITH YES Facebook page today and it started me thinking about first drafts.

Sometimes the single biggest obstacle towards completing a first draft manuscript is that overpowering urge towards perfection.

“I don’t want to f*ck this up!”

“Every word HAS to be right!”

“Oh my god, I better not screw this up!”

Gets to sound like a drill instructor after a while.

You remember that movie FULL METAL JACKET where drill instructor R. Lee Ermey totally warps the mind of a young Vincent D’Onofrio? Well – sometimes that is what a drill instructor will do to you. A drill instructor’s job is to you yell at you in a creative fashion in order to achieve a certain degree of learned instinct. Now, a drill instructor can be a useful muse – but you cannot let that urge towards perfection prevent you from completing what NEEDS to get done.

Just remember – writing is like sculpture. First thing you need is a big old hunk of stone or a mess of clay. That is all that a first draft is supposed to be. So don’t freak out and worry so much about getting the job done right. Put a little duct tape across that drill instructor’s mouth and just get it done.

Say it with me.

It’s just a first draft.

First drafts NEED to be f*cked up!

So get it done FIRST, damn it!

Just remember – nobody is marking you on this – and it is awfully hard to revise a blank page.

Remember – when you find yourself stuck fast two-thirds of the way through your first draft manuscript –


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. – Isak Dinesen

Who would have thought that there could be so much difference in a single tear?

Give this a read, would you?

I didn't have my glasses on....


This photo series by Rose-Lynn Fisher captures tears of grief, joy, laughter and irritation under the microscope.

Tears aren’t just water.

They’re primarily made up of water, salts, antibodies and lysozymes,

but the composition depends on the type of tear.

There are three main types –

basal tears, reflex tears, and weeping tears.

As you can see,

they can look incredibly different when evaporated and placed under a microscope.

Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears.
Albert Camus

More info:
Images by Rose-Lynn Fisher, via the Smithsonian Magazine and ScienceAlert.


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One day…

No spam today.

No buy-my-book, buy-my-book.

Just three words.

Pay it forward.

We are all in the same boat – on the same journey – and we just don’t know it.

We all start acting like we DO know it and maybe someday we will all figure out how to be it, one day.

One good day.

🙂 🙂 🙂

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


A Word Cloud of Wonderful News…

My wife, Belinda, made this word-cloud out of all of the words in my recent blog entry – A SMALL WRITING MILESTONE because she knew how darned excited I was about the whole event.

Me, I’m touched.

Partly, because I am really moved at the love behind this gesture.

Partly, because it gives me something to blog about tonight.


Word CloudIf any of you wants to make your own Word Cloud – just hit this link!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Someone Left the Gate Open

Someone left the gate open


I have just sold my ONE THOUSANDTH Kobo e-book!

Time for an ice cold Dr. Pepper!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

A Small Writing Milestone – Why am I happy?

This is me, doing my Happy Dance!

This is me, doing my Happy Dance!

It is an awfully good day today – and I am a happy man!

It’s warm and sunny and I am going to be signing my books this afternoon at the Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth from noon to 2pm.

But that’s not why I am happy.

I barbecued yesterday and had a cold Dr. Pepper and met a couple of nephews whom I hadn’t talked to since they were knee-high to a knee.

But that’s not why I am happy.

My cat Kismet thinks that all of my books are really cool and NOBODY in the world can open up a can of cat food like I can.

Kizzy and book 003

But THAT’S not why I am happy!

I am happy because as of this morning I have sold 999 e-books as a Kobo writer and sometime today I hope to pass the 1000 e-books sold today.

That is a milestone in the career of an e-book author. Some people pass that milestone in their first month of e-publishing. Others take a little longer. It took me about two years. I released my first indie-published e-book about two years ago – publishing SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME in Kobo format back in 2012.

Hey, some folks drive faster than other folks do.

I am that old fart you see tootling down the side of the road on a battered green golf cart, both hands gripped squarely on the wheel at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock, leaning forward and squinting through a pair of of fogged-up bifocals, slowing down to let a grandmother in a motorized wheelchair pass him.

I am pretty sure that I will pass the 1000 e-books sold because the Kobo 30% Book Sale is still going strong and is featuring two of my e-books.

The book that has been selling the fastest this month is my monstrously huge full-length scarecrow novel, THE TATTERDEMON OMNIBUS.

Tatterdemon Omnibus

As a result of this sale Tatterdemon is now #11 on the Kobo Bestselling horror list!

That’s not too shabby at all.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Like I said, there are lots of folks out there who are selling more books faster than I am – but one of the great secrets about being happy in life is to learn how to celebrate the small victories. Somebody bring you home a pizza on a cold rainy day – don’t sit there and wish it were t-bone steak.

Do your happy dance and clap your hands and yell “Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!”

So – don’t forget to check out the Kobo thirty percent offer for ALL of your e-book needs – not just my own books. And don’t forget to use the promo code STOCKUP30 to take advantage of the offered discount.

You keep on reading – I’ll keep on writing.

Real Men Read


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Amazon Launches Short Reads

I still do better at Kobo than I do at Amazon – but that doesn’t negate the fact that Amazon is definitely the 500 pound gorilla in the chimpanzee tent – so I keep a close eye on what Amazon is up to.

Just today they announced a brand new section of the Kindle store dedicated entirely to short stories and quick reads. I think this is a great idea. Whether or not they can run with it is another question entirely.

Only time will tell.

Still, there is a market out there for short stories. You can read a short story on a bus ride to work. You can read a short story before you go to bed. You can read a short story in the doctor’s office. Heck, you can even read a short story while sitting on the throne.

There are readers of all shapes and sizes out there. Some folks are looking for t-bone books while others are hungry for a cheeseburger read. Short stories are the potato chips and candy of the e-book world. They taste great without filling you up. There is very little commitment involved. Reading a short story is a little like speed-dating. You like that story you might want to hunt up a novel and take it out to dinner and maybe even get lucky with it if you play your cards right.

I write short stories because I like to read short stories – and you should ALWAYS write what you like to read.

Which is why I will most likely NEVER write a parlor mystery.

If you want to read more about the Amazon Short Reads section swing on over to the DIGITAL READER – which you really ought to be following anyways – and read all about it.

You might also want to check out kboards – which you likewise ought to be following – as they have an entire multi-page forum thread dedicated to this particular topic.

And – because a day without spam is like a day without sunshine why don’t I advertise one of my own short reads. Pick this up today and I’ll come home tonight from my night shift and grin out loud.

We writers are such a needy lot!



Just click this picture and pick this short story up at Kindle for 99cents.

Just click this picture and pick this short story up at Kindle for 99cents.

Or – if you have a Kobo – pick this up NOW for $0.99! 🙂


Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Neil Gaiman’s Eight Good Writing Practices

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s Eight Good Writing Practices

1. Write.

2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.

3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.

4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.

5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.

7. Laugh at your own jokes.

8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But its definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Neil Gaiman

I’ve actually talked to Neil by telephone while I was interviewing him for Cemetery Dance magazine, many years back. He was a very friendly gent and a great deal of fun. I’d ask him a question and he would simply pour his words over the telephone – all this while his assistant was poking him with a stick and telling him the “we really had to be going now”. He wound up talking for over an hour and a half – the man was just an interviewer’s joy.

I’d love to meet him in person some day and shake his hand.

I know that’s corny – but there is nothing wrong with corn. It makes good whiskey and even better fritters.

Here’s his wonderful commencement speech as he addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012. It’s twenty minutes long – but it is REALLY worth listening to. I’ve got it playing in my headphones while I sit and type this.

And thanks to Kristine McKinley, who reminded me of this speech in the first comment to this blog entry. You see, that is something else a writer ought to do. He ought to listen to his readers.



And – if you don’t know who Neil Gaiman is you have REALLY got to go and hunt his stuff up. I’ve read and reread the Sandman series many times. I’ve read American Gods twice. Several of his short story collections, the Anansi Boys, the Book of Magic, Marvel 1602 – the guy is a fantastic fabulist.

Besides – what other author can you think of who has a Tumbler site dedicated to his HAIR?

The Sandman

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

The Falcon and the Cowboy

This song always reminds me of a bright hitchhiking morning when I stood upon a prairie highway staring at a raven who sat no more than six feet away from me on a weathered oaken fencepost. I clicked my teeth and I gave that raven rattle and he rattled on back at me and I know that he said something to me and I wish to hell I was smart enough to know just what it was he truly said.



yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon